Nearest Cities: Go Cong and My Tho
Terroir: The ‘first arm’ of the Mekong Delta. Wet, tropical.
Fermentation Style: Wooden boxes
Drying Style: Above ground bamboo trellis
Elevation: Sea Level
Soil Type: Alluvial
Harvest Season: Dec-March, May-July
Meridian has teamed up with Saigon-based Marou Faiseurs De Chocolat to import their hand selected Vietnam cocoa to the United States. Marou was founded in 2011 to support the Vietnamese cacao industry and has been tremendously successful at putting Vietnamese cacao in the international spotlight with their line of bean-to-bar chocolates. Besides crafting award-winning chocolate, Marou works directly with family-owned cocoa farms across Vietnam to bring their ﬁne cocoa to markets. They provide these farms with technical support and ﬁnancial assistance, purchasing the cocoa well beyond Fair Trade cocoa prices. The cacao that Meridian sources through Marou represents their high standards of quality starting at the farm level.
About Tien Giang
Tien Giang is a province on the northern branch of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, a low-lying, tropical region with a vast network of rivers, rice paddies, and swamplands. It has hundreds of miles of canals that reach far into the farmland. The land is extremely fertile, and as such, has been intensively farmed for more than a century.
The farmers that produce Tien Giang cacao were once organized into a cooperative that was comprised of 12 fermenters serving around 20 farmers each. The co-op received Official Development Assistance from the US government to support its cacao processing and export. Unfortunately, the co-op has since disbanded. Now, Marou works directly with 5 of the original 12 fermenter groups that originally formed the co-op. Marou has a very hands on approach to quality control; each bag is tested at selection, and farmers received feedback and technical assistance throughout the harvest season.
Tien Giang’s cacao is full bodied chocolate with notes of spice, brown fruit, and honey.
Cacao in Vietnam
Cacao arrived in Vietnam in the late 19th century. It remained a small crop until about 15 years ago, when development organizations began encouraging the planting of seedlings in the Mekong Delta region. While this dramatically increased the amount of cacao grown in Vietnam, it still remains a tiny share of Vietnam’s agriculture compared to its massive rice, cashew, and coﬀee industries.